Plum sending 5 athletes to WPIAL track and field event
By: Michael Love
Friday, May 11, 2018 | 11:00 PM
Maddie Monick now is a three-time WPIAL qualifier in the hurdles who hopes to return to the PIAA championships in a couple of weeks.
The Plum junior said season-best performances in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles at the West Mifflin last-chance meet gave her a boost of confidence that she hopes will carry her back to Shippensburg on May 25-26.
“I am so glad I went to that meet,” said Monick, who is seeded ninth in the 100 hurdles (15.56 seconds).
“I was supposed to have an AP test, but I will take that on the makeup day. I am really excited for WPIALs to see if I can go even faster.”
Monick said she is confident she can break into the top eight in the 100 hurdles, pick up a WPIAL medal and put herself in contention for a trip to states.
Last year, Monick placed eighth in the 100 hurdles. Her time was better than the state-qualifying standard for the event, and she was off to the PIAA meet.
The top four finishers in each individual and relay event at WPIALs, set for Thursday at Baldwin, automatically qualify to compete at the state championships.
Additional qualifiers, such as Monick last year, must finish in the top eight.
“All of the (100 hurdles) times are really close,” Monick said. “It should be interesting to see how it goes.”
Monick is seeded 18th in the 300 hurdles (48.86).
Events at WPIALs begin at 1 p.m.
Monick will not be the lone Plum representative: Four others have qualified.
“Every week, she is improving her times,” Plum coach Nick Oto said. “She's really focusing on the little things that will help her run a good race and get her back to states.”
Plum junior Hunter Linart is seeded eighth in the discus with a top throw of 143 feet, 2 inches. Last year, Linart made his WPIAL debut and finished 17th with a best mark of 128-11.
“Hunter has really been throwing well in practice,” Oto said. “He is capable of throwing 150 or better.”
The Mustangs are well represented in the throws, as freshman Logan Parker will compete at WPIALs for the first time in the discus and shot put.
Parker is seeded 18th in the discus (128-7) and tied for 23rd in the shot (43-11).
Sophomore Angela Valotta ran a 5:21.88 in the 1,600 at the last-chance meet, knocking 5 seconds off her previous best time. She will run at WPIALs for the first time and is seeded 12th.
Valotta also qualified in the 3,200 and broke 12 minutes for the first time this season, but Oto said she will not run that in favor of putting all her concentration on the 1,600.
Sophomore Olivia Pernice finished 22nd in her first shot at the WPIAL meet, and she hopes to better than mark in her return to Baldwin. She is seeded 24th with a top jump of 34-3.5, more than 3 feet better than what she recorded at WPIALs last year.
Senior Emme Lawton popped a 103-11 in the discus at the last-chance meet, 3 1⁄2 feet better than her previous best. That gave her a spot in the WPIAL field. She is seeded 17th.
Oto said he's confident Lawton has an even better throw in her at WPIALs.
“She's thrown distances in practice that would break our school record several times over,” he said.